Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we heard of the unfortunate moment when mankind was first tempted by Satan in the Gardens of Eden as recorded in the Book of Genesis. In that occasion, the devil tempted our ancestors, Adam and Eve, and persuaded them to eat of the fruit of the forbidden Tree of knowledge of good and evil, using their curiosity and desires against them.
Through that act of disobedience, mankind had fallen into sin and evil ways, and they had been sundered off away from God’s grace. Thus they fell and had to wander the world, as the consequences of their sin. But the Lord did not abandon them, for indeed, had He wanted to destroy them for their sins He could have done it really easily, willing them out of existence immediately and condemning them together with Satan and other wicked demons into hell for eternity.
Instead, the Lord patiently sought to be reconciled with us mankind, and He went to great lengths to seek us and sent helpers and reminders one after another to lead us on the way back to Him, as He has shown through how He guided the people of Israel, those whom He has first called and chosen among the children of mankind. God wants to be reconciled with us and He wants us to be gathered back once again in His loving embrace, no longer separated by sin.
Therefore, He sent us all the ultimate gift of all, the perfect manifestation of His boundless, timeless and enduring love for us. This is the gift of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, God Himself incarnate in the flesh and walking amongst us, that we may remember that we are truly beloved by God and are precious in His eyes. And as we heard in our Gospel passage today, God willingly healed a man who was deaf, putting His hands on the man and opened his ears with the words ‘Ephphata!’ which means, ‘Be opened!’
This action by the Lord might not be very significant to us or we may just think of it as another miracle that the Lord performed, if we do not know that in the past, and as it is still presently practiced by those who use the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the Ephphata Rite is a part of the Sacrament of Baptism, in which the priest symbolically opened the ears and mouth of the person to be baptised to mark the opening of the mind and the heart of the person to receive God into them.
Yes brothers and sisters in Christ, thanks to our disobedience and sin, we have allowed sin to corrupt us and cloud our judgments, our minds and hearts. The Lord as He healed the deaf man showed that not only that He could heal us from our physical infirmities but in fact also from our spiritual problems and the root of all evil and suffering, which is sin. God alone can heal us and forgive us our sins.
Now, as Christians what then is our attitude towards the Lord? Is it one of willingness to listen to Him and to welcome Him into our hearts and our minds? Or have we allowed the devil to tempt us and to sway us such that we place our desires, our pride, ambition and ego above our love for the Lord and our loyalty and faith in Him? Shall we repeat the mistakes made by our predecessors, all those who have chosen to follow the devil’s lead instead of the Lord and His path?
God has given us all the free will to choose the path we are to take in these lives He has granted us. Now, let us all discern carefully how we are to proceed from now on, moving forward and embracing the challenges and the opportunities that we have received, remembering always the love that God has for each and every one of us, and the great patience that He has in never giving up on any one of us.
Let us all turn towards the Lord with a new heart and with a new faith, and let us all appreciate all that He has done for us, welcoming Him into our midst and allowing Him to touch our lives, to heal us and to make us whole once again, purging from within us all traces of stubbornness and faithlessness. May God bless us all, and be with us always. Amen.